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Energy Vanguard Blog

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Long Live the One-Week HERS Rater Training!

 
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No, this is not an April Fool's joke (as much as I do like writing them, even when it's not 1 April). We've abandoned our 8-day in-class HERS rater training format. Beginning with our next class, the in-class part will last five and a half days. Did you catch the clue in that last sentence?

4 Smart Building Science Learning Opportunities for You

 
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If you work in the fields of home building, home improvement, or HVAC and want to do the best work you can, you know that you've got to keep learning. Not only is there a tremendous amount to know, but things are always changing. Here are four great opportunities for you to continue your building science education.

Look for Me by the Question Mark

 
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I'm in California this week at the Dry Climate Forum, hanging out with some of my favorite people in the home performance business. Gavin Healy, Dan Perunko, Mike MacFarland, and Rick Chitwood are the ringleaders, but all 6 dozen of us here belong to the same tribe: the tribe of questioners.

A December Building Science Bonanza

 
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Let me drop a few names on you: John Straube, Peter Yost, Scott Pigg, Keith Williams. Impressed? If you know who those folks are, you probably realize how much you could learn from them. If you don't recognize the names, that's an even better reason for you to come to the Better Buildings: Better Business conference in Chicago. Those four guys are some of the top repositories—and creators—of building science knowledge in North America.

A First Sentence to Rival Gabriel García Márquez's Firing Squad

 

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice." Thus opens Gabriel García Márquez's classic work of literature, One Hundred Years of Solitude. It's the most memorable first sentence of any book I've ever read.

The Importance of Mentoring, in Building Science and in Life

 
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Learning building science—or anything really—takes determination. My friend Jay always tells people when he's teaching them to juggle that picking up that skill takes only two things: wanting to do it and spending time practicing.

Physics Taught Me the Chinese Principle of Success

 
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I flunked my first physics exam in college. Yep. I got a 57% on it. I felt horrible about it because I was a physics major. Despite my dismal start to college physics, however, I did go on to get a doctorate in the field. The secret was figuring out for myself what millions of Chinese people learn from an early age. Here's how it happened.

107 Acronyms & Initials for Home Energy Pros

 
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Acronyms and initials (let's call that AI, for short, not to be confused with the other AI, which stands for artificial intelligence, or AIA, which stands for American Institute of Architects) are part of the jargon of every field. Our field, whether you call it building science, green building, home performance, or something else, is no exception. So, a few years ago I started putting together a list that I now include in the manuals that we give out in our training classes (HERS rater and BPI Building Analyst).

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Throwing the Building Science Learning Curve for a Loop

 
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I just returned from Arizona, where I spoke at the Structural Insulated Panel Association’s annual conference. Since it was in Tucson, I also took the opportunity to visit with my friend David Butler. He’s an amazing source of knowledge in the field of building science, especially concerning mechanical systems, and our conversation got me to thinking about learning curves. His story is quite interesting and not so different from mine in some ways. Perhaps the advice at the end of this article, based on what David and I went through (independently) over a decade ago, will help you as you embark on your own building science learning curve.

Are You a Conference Commando? — Advice for RESNET and Beyond

 
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A couple of years ago, my friend Steve Byers of Energy Logic wrote an article about how to get the most out of your conference experience. In it, he included a link to a paper titled 15 Tips from Keith Ferrazzi: Conference Commando (pdf), which I believe every conference goer should read. With the RESNET conference coming up next week and many more following throughout the year (Building Energy, Greenprints, ACI, SIPA, Building Science Summer Camp, EEBA, GreenBuild...), you need to be as prepared as the Energy Avenger (see video below).

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